Officials at Arizona State University discuss how their implementation went enterprise-wide during the pandemic at the Slack Frontiers conference.
Deploying new technology to the masses is always a challenge, but as Arizona State University discovered, the stakes are higher in a pandemic. The university is using Slack as a “digital hub” to enable real-time communications and collaboration, officials said during a session at the Slack Frontiers conference Thursday.
With 120,000 students, “Scale is all about making sure the community is engaged,” said Samantha Becker, an executive director of creative and communications at ASU. “We broke it down by trying to understand what the community wants and needs.”
Officials did not take an “If we have Slack available they will come” approach, Becker said. “We wanted to find out what they wanted out of the communication hub.”
Find the champions
In trying to inspire people to use a new tool to get to scale, “you don’t go it alone with a single team responsible for adoption,” added Warick Pond, executive director in strategic implementation at ASU.
He said it was important to create a “champions network” of people who shared what they use Slack for. Previously, many people may have viewed it as a tool for instant messaging and were not aware “how Slack can be used for day-to-day work and collaborations,” Pond said.
The strategy for campus-wide deployment started by putting together a cross-functional team of faculty, students, and staff, and making sure everyone “understood their role so they didn’t just join the team and ask what they were doing here,” Pond said.
“We did not treat it as an enterprise implementation,” he added. “We created personas to represent the masses and held jam sessions or focus groups